Nidal Hasan’s Security Clearance
Once again the news media got it wrong. Referring to the Report of the DoD Independent Review Related to Fort Hood (Protecting the Force: Lessons from Fort Hood), an Associated Press article, claimed:
“Their investigation also found his top-level security clearance hadn’t been properly investigated.”
A WashingtonPost.com article stated:
“The report also said that Hasan was granted a top-level security clearance in February 2008 but that his background check did not include interviews with co-workers, supervisors or Hasan himself.”
The DoD report actually stated:
“[Hasan] held an active and current SECRET security clearance based on a February 2008 National Agency Check with Local Agency and Credit Check of [sic] background investigation. Although accomplished in accordance with current guidelines, this background investigation did not include a subject interview or interviews with coworkers, supervisors, or expanded character references.”
A Secret clearance can hardly be characterized as a “top-level security clearance,” and if it was “accomplished in accordance with current guidelines” it was incorrect to claim that it “hadn’t been properly investigated.” A standard NACLC has the narrowest scope of any security clearance investigation and does not include a Subject Interview or any reference interviews. It simply isn’t capable of surfacing the type of information that might have made a difference in Hasan’s case.
The DoD report went on to criticize the adequacy of the NACLC for Secret clearances, the vagueness of the Adjudicative Guidelines, and insufficient training on how and to whom significant information is reported. However, the DoD report did not cite any specific examples of vagueness in the guidelines or insufficiency in training. Army Regulation 380-67, “Personnel Security Program” states, “the supervisor must ensure that all relevant information is reported to the local command security official responsible for processing the investigative paperwork.” It also states, “Coworkers have an equal obligation to advise their supervisor or appropriate security official when they become aware of information with potentially serious security significance regarding someone with access to classified information or employed in a sensitive position.” Guideline A of the Adjudicative Guidelines appears equally clear and unambiguous about the issue of loyalty and allegiance.